Dwight L. Moody once wrote, "Lighthouses don't fire guns or ring bells to call attention to their light; they just shine." Matthew 5:14 says that we are called to be a city on a hill. However, our goal should not be to point others to our good deeds. Rather, our deeds should point them to the one true Light, Jesus. Sometimes we do good things for selfish reasons; we often do right because we know it will bring us praise. Let's look at an example: there is one chocolate chip cookie left at your house. Every one of your family members knows that you adore chocolate chip cookies. However, there is a problem. Your brother just got home from basketball practice, and he is really hungry. Instead of grabbing the cookie for yourself, you offer it to him. That's great, right? Well, it depends. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, "People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." If you gave your brother that cookie just because you knew your parents would go on and on about how generous you are, that was just as bad as snatching that cookie for yourself. On the other hand, if you let him have the cookie because that's what Jesus would do, your kind act helped point your family to Jesus. We should not call attention to our light; if we do, we are promoting ourselves instead of Jesus.
Matthew 6:1-5 says, "Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."
If you have a hard time being a light if you don't get recognition, think about Jesus. When He ate dinner with tax collectors and fishermen, there was no one telling Him how thoughtful He was. When He spent hours and hours healing people and teaching them about His Kingdom, there was no party for Him at the end of the day. Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, yet He was mocked, and they spat upon Him. He still was Light, even if people didn't treat Him right. When we act like Jesus instead of the world, we should act out of pure love for Jesus. When we serve others, we should serve out of adoration for Him. When we shine our light, we should shine with joy; not because of the praise we hope to get, but because the King of kings laid down His life for us.